Just want to quote something from the OP....hah, hah, yes, I am quoting myself...
1. Tom Brady
2. Babe Ruth
3. Michael Jordan
4. Wayne Gretzky
But if I am being honest, I am not sure I feel good about that order. There are 16 combos of the 4 GOATs and I think an argument could be made that all 16 combos are the right one.
Looking at the poll results thus far and the replies, man, that comment couldn't have been more spot on. The comments regarding if those four really are the GOATs and how they compare to their contemporaries and each other have been pretty much all over the place.
I think it's a great "at the pub after a Boston Celtics victory" talking subject.
After reading everything here, I rethought my list I think I will go:
1A. Tom Brady
1B. Wayne Gretzky
3. Babe Ruth
4. Michael Jordan.
Gretzky's dominance in the NHL record books is ridiculous and in his prime it elevated him to unreal heights.
(I looked it up, he led the league in assists for 13 straight years...13 STRAIGHT YEARS!!!! The dude was hanging up 200 point seasons like drying laundry and players nowadays struggle to break 100 points in a year to lead the league.)
Babe I brought down some due to the lack of teams and lack of player diversity that may have changed his dominance. That last part is not his fault. It was a terribly racist rule in baseball but it did severely limit his competition.
Strangely, the best athlete of the bunch is MJ, but in the middle of his dominance he decided to take either an "I am burnt out" two year break and went to suck at minor league baseball for that time or a two year, hush, hush, suspension because maybe there were some gambling issues the league buried. Conspiracy theory? Yes, but the rumors of it were very real. Either way, leaving those two years, to me hurts his comparison to the other GOATs though it in no way diminishes his title as NBA GOAT.